Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: 2nd JUNE 2015

Wild things! based in Moray recognised with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for 2015

A voluntary group from Moray who works in the community to inspire people to appreciate, care for, and understand the natural world, and in doing so, improve their skills attainment and quality of life has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

For 12 years, Wild things! has developed and delivered a unique range of quality outdoor learning experiences for children, young people and adults. Their courses enable participants to gain awards and qualifications, as well as support an increase in health and wellbeing, whilst engaging in the great outdoors.  Wild things! works with most of their clients over a period of time improve confidence and maximise benefits. Many of their teenagers return as peer volunteers to share their skills with others and many of their adults work with them as volunteers on their Blue Gym Conservation project, removing invasive plant species in support of native wild flower restoration.

Jennie Martin and Ellen Packham from Wild things! have been invited to attend a garden party at Holyrood on the 1st of July where they will meet the Queen and other winners of this year’s award.

Wild things! is one of 187 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awards handed out to groups have increased by over 60% from 2014, due to an increase in high quality applications, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to tackle community challenges.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year range from Ablaze, a charity helping to raise academic achievement amongst disadvantaged young people in Bristol to a volunteer rescue boat service on Loch Lomond.

Wild things! will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston Esq OBE TD CA later this summer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Martyn Lewis CBE said:

“I warmly congratulate all of the inspirational voluntary groups who have been rewarded for their community work with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The judging panel for this year’s awards were struck by the quality and breadth of all the successful groups. The thousands of volunteers who give up spare time to help others in their community and to help solve problems demonstrate the best of democracy in action.”

Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, said:

“I would like to congratulate all groups who received this year’s Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, in recognition of their fantastic achievements. The hard work and commitment that goes into the work of these organisations is surpassed only by the passion and motivation of the individuals who volunteer. I hope these groups continue to inspire others to get involved and make a positive impact so that  we can continue to build a bigger, stronger society.”

Major General Seymour Monro, a local Deputy Lieutenant for Moray says “I am really thrilled that the Queen has recognised Wild things! They have been doing so much for so many people over the past 12 years. They go from strength to strength, and are making an enormous contribution to our communities and the natural world in Moray and beyond.”

Jennie Martin, founder and executive director of Wild things! said: “ This is such a great accolade for Wild things! in recognising the generous work of our volunteers and for the work of the Wild things! team. We are just delighted to be receiving such a prestigious award and want to than everyone who put us forward for it, in particular Major General Seymour Monro”.

Notes to editors

Lord Lieutenants are the monarch’s representatives in their lieutenancy. There are 98 Lord Lieutenants who cover all areas of the UK.

This year there were 187 winners of The Queen’s Award Voluntary Service from across the UK. More information on the winners can be found at the London Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/

Any group of two or more people that has participated in voluntary work for more than three years can be nominated for the award. Full details on how to nominate are available at http://qavs.direct.gov.uk/

Nominations for the 2016 awards close on 18 September 2015

Founded in 2003, Wild things! has become one of the leading providers of environmental education programmes in North East Scotland.

The charity offers a wide range of successful environmental education programmes for children and young people, which are designed to inspire participants to understand, appreciate and care for their natural environment, and by so, improve their quality of life.

For more information about Wild things!, see www.wild-things.org.uk or contact enquiries@wild-things.org.uk